Monday, October 11


When Bush talks Wednesday night at the debate about his "125,000 fully-trained security forces"remember this:

"That's a standard of training Americans would never accept," said Gerald F. Burke, a retired Massachusetts State Police major who spent more than a year as an adviser to Baghdad police commanders. "It's a standard the Iraqis wouldn't accept if they didn't have to. Really, it's just an excuse for us to be able to say, 'Hey, we tried.' ''

So even if Mr. Bush's numbers are correct, to claim 125,000 Iraqis will be "fully trained" for the Iraqi Army, National Guard, police and security services by year's end is to redefine the term so far downward as to be meaningless. Adnan Muhammed, in fact, is among the best trained police officers, one of only about 8,000 raw recruits who completed the full eight-week academy course. Thousands more were simply handed a badge and blue shirt on their first day.

The blame does not lie with Mr. Burke or the other civilians and American soldiers running the academies and advising Iraqi commanders. Rather, the Iraqi security forces are in such dreary shape for the same reason the rest of the country is a spiraling disaster: the Bush administration ignored the advice of its own people and tried to do the job on the cheap.


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